College Counseling FAQ
The following is a list of some of the most commonly asked questions about college counseling at Winsor. The information is organized by the following four sections:
II. Standardized Testing
III. The College Search
IV. The Application Process
- How do I contact the College Counseling Office or specific Winsor college counselors?
- Whom do I contact for a meeting?
- Which tests will my daughter have to take in order to apply to college?
- When are the PSATs?
- Who takes the PSATs?
- When will I receive my PSAT scores?
- What are the differences between the SAT and ACT?
- When should I take the SATs or ACTs?
- How many times do students take the SATs?
- Which Subject Tests to students typically take and when?
- Do all colleges require the same standardized testing and do I have to send scores from every test I have taken?
- Do all colleges require standardized testing?
- How do I send my test scores to colleges?
- What are Advanced Placement (AP) exams and when do they take place?
- Are AP exams required?
- How are AP scores sent to colleges?
At the conclusion of the Class VI year, students who have excelled in chemistry and have a solid understanding of Algebra II sometimes take the Chemistry SAT Subject Test.
Most SAT Subject Tests are taken at the end of the Class VII year. The following tests are the ones most frequently taken by Winsor students:
Physics (In addition to excelling in Winsor’s Physics or Honors Physics course, students taking the Physics SAT Subject Test, should be earning a strong grade in Precalculus.)
Math Level 1 (includes mostly questions from Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2)
Math Level 2 (includes fewer geometry questions and more advanced algebra, as well as precalculus questions) Note: Students interested in engineering, mathematics, or applied science as potential majors should strongly consider the Math Level 2 SAT Subject Test.
English Literature (Winsor’s English classes [and to some degree history courses] with their emphasis on close reading, provide excellent preparation for the Literature SAT Subject Test).
Chinese, French, Spanish or Latin (Students who have completed a third or fourth year of language study are prepared to do well on a language SAT Subject Test.)
There are other SAT Subject Tests that Winsor students occasionally take. For further information please visit the CollegeBoard website, where you can find explanations of each subject test and mini-practice tests, as well as a calendar of when specific tests are offered as not all Subject Tests are offered on every test date.
Bryn Mawr College
College of the Atlantic
College of the Holy Cross
Franklin and Marshall
George Mason University
Hobart & William Smith
Lewis & Clark College
Loyola University, MD
Mt. Holyoke College
New York University
Sarah Lawrence College
University of the South
St. Lawrence University
Wake Forest University
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
- When do colleges visit Winsor?
- What should I do if I have rehearsal, class review, or another important obligation when a representative from a college to which I am applying is visiting?
- Who can attend the college info sessions at Winsor?
- When should I start to visit colleges?
- When can I make my first meeting with a college counselor?
- Do you recommend any books for Winsor students and parents about the college search and application process?
The College Admissions Mystique, Bill Mayher, Noonday Press, New York, NY 1998. Advice from a respected retired college counselor.
Colleges that Change Lives, Loren Pope, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 2000. Portraits of colleges chosen by a long-time college counselor who has a bent towards small colleges.
Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That's Right For You, Loren Pope, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1995. Wise words from the same long-time college consultant.
Cool Colleges: For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different, Donald Asher, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA, 2000. Profiles and portraits of colleges and types of colleges directed at students listed in the title.
Winning the Heart of the College Admissions Dean, Joyce Slayton Mitchell, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA, 2005. Insight into the complexities of the college admissions process.
The Gatekeepers, Jacques Steinberg, Viking, New York, NY, 2002. A New York Times journalist takes an inside look at how a prestigious university admissions office selects a class over one entire admissions cycle.
The Fiske Guide to Colleges, Edward Fiske, Sourcebooks, Naperville, IL, 2002. Widely respected comprehensive resource book presenting college profiles in narrative descriptions.
The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, Yale Daily News staff, St. Martin's Griffin, New York, NY, 2007. Another popular guidebook with profiles, this one written by student journalists.
Visiting College Campuses, Janet Spencer and Sandra Maleson, Princeton Review, Random House, New York, NY, 2004. Good planner with detailed maps, mileage, directions and places to stay when visiting colleges.
The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting from Senior Year to College Life, Laura S. Kastner Ph.D., and Jennifer Wyatt, Ph.D., Three Rivers Press, New York, NY, 2002. The authors address the double bind of parenting late adolescents – letting go and holding on, all at the same time.
Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years, Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger, Harper Perennial, New York, NY, 2003. A sensitive, informative and well-written guide to help parents know what their children are getting into when they leave for college.
Making the Most of College, Richard J. Light, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2004. This is a valuable book filled with insights about the next steps after admission – a practical guide that can enrich the college experience.
Test Prep Books
The Official SAT Study Guide: For the new SAT, The College Board, Henry Holt and Company.
The Official Study Guide for all SAT Subject Tests, The College Board, Henry Holt and Company.
- What are the components of a typical application?
- What about interviews?
- I have heard about applying “Early.” What does that mean?
- What are the possible responses to an application?
- What should I know about financial aid?
- How do I apply for financial aid?
- When do I have to make a decision about which college I am going to attend?
• High school academic record (including courses taken and grades)
• Standardized test scores
• The quality of the student’s application (usually including an essay)
• School and faculty recommendations
• Extracurricular activities, internship experience, employment
• Special talents and interests
Many colleges also offer some version of an early application round, with application deadlines typically in November and with decisions arriving in December. “Early Decision” asks a student to make a binding commitment to a college. If accepted, the student cancels any other applications and accepts the offer of admission. “Early Action” does not require a student to commit to the college; therefore, she can submit regular decision applications as well.
Many colleges and organizations award non-need-based financial aid as well. Most of these awards or scholarships are based on academic merit, leadership skills or athletic potential. As well, sometimes there are scholarships available from parents’ employers, towns, churches and community organizations such as the Rotary Club or Kiwanis.